Post Study Visa

Working in the UK after your studies

International students who hold Student Route visa normally have either 2 months or 4 months extra length on the visa after the course end date linked on their CAS letter. Upon reaching the course end date, student can start working full time up until the visa expiry date. If you are considering staying in the UK after your studies, you may need to apply for a separate visa.

There are various options available to international students who want to stay and work in the UK after you have completed your studies. To protect your immigration status, you must apply the next visa on or before the current visa expires.

The most commonly available visa routes for graduates to work in the UK are as follows:

  • New Graduate Route visa
  • Skilled worker route (formerly Tier 2)
  • Start-up visa
  • Students’ Union Sabbatical Officers
  • Youth Mobility Scheme visa (T5)

If you would like to discuss your eligibility for a specific visa scheme or if you need further advice, please contact International Student Support Team on (Coventry campus) or (London campus).

Please note that International Student Advisers can help you with the most topics related support and guidance, including assistance with completing the correct application form, however International Student Advisers cannot make immigration decisions and can only give you the basic immigration information.  Therefore, you may need to seek independent immigration advisor for a certain immigration routes with further advice.

Please note that International Student Advisers can help you with the most topics related support and guidance, including assistance with completing the correct application form, however International Student Advisers cannot make immigration decisions and can only give you the basic immigration information.  Therefore, you may need to seek independent immigration advisor for a certain immigration routes with further advice.

Graduate Route

The Graduate Route (GR) is a two-year non-sponsored visa that allows qualifying students to stay and work in the UK. Sponsorship from an employer is not required (as some points-based system visas require). There is no restriction on the kind of work you can do and no minimum salary. You can spend time looking for work and you are able to switch jobs without any effect on your visa. Your family members (wife/husband and any children under 18) can extend their permission to join you on this visa should they already have permission to stay in the UK as your dependant – however new dependants are not permitted on this route. The two years on the Graduate Route is not extendable. You will either have to leave the UK at the end of the two years or change to a different visa that allows for it in the UK, such as the skilled worker visa.

For doctoral students:

For doctorate students, the Graduate route replaces the Doctorate Extension Scheme (DES). DES allowed PhD graduates to extend their student visa for 12 months. With the introduction of the Graduate route, DES has been incorporated and doctoral graduates now have three years of post-study entitlement instead of the two they previously had on DES.

EU students:

EU (and EEA & Swiss) students without settled or pre-settled status in the UK can apply to the Graduate Route in the same way as other international students. You won’t need a post-study work visa to remain to remain in the UK if you have settled or pre-settled status.

The Home Office has set out qualifying criteria to the Graduate Route.  Take time to read the qualifying criteria to know if you are eligible to apply for this visa.

To qualify, you must meet all the conditions listed below:

  • Complete your studies; and, on a student visa
  • Still have time (permission to stay) left on your student visa by the time you come to apply
  • Be in the UK by a specific time to apply:

Normally, you will have had to have studied your degree in the UK in order to apply for the Graduate Route. However, due to the coronavirus pandemic, the UK government is temporarily allowing students who are studying remotely (from outside the UK) to apply in 2021 provided they arrive in the UK by a specific time;

  • If you began your postgraduate course in 2020 via distant learning; and, you have not previously entered the UK to study that course, you will be eligible to apply if you arrive in the UK by 21 June 2021 to complete your course (updated from the previous date of 06 April 2021)
  • If you began your postgraduate course in 2021 via distant learning; and, you have not previously entered the UK to study that course, you will be eligible to apply if you arrive in the UK by 27 September 2021 to complete your course
  • If you began your postgraduate course in 2020 or 2021 and you still have existing permission as a student to study that course; and, you have already travelled to the UK during your period of permission, you will be eligible to apply as long as you are in the UK before the end date of your course
  • Students who would normally only be sponsored to study in the UK on the student route for the last year of a longer course, such as those on articulated degree programmes, will be considered as being on a course of 12 months or less for the purposes of this requirement
  • If your course lasts longer than 12 months, you will not be prevented from being eligible as a result of any distant learning that took place either in the UK or overseas between the period of 24 January 2020 and 27 September 2021
  • If your course lasts more than one year finishing in 2022 or later, you will not have any period of distant/remote learning during the 2020/21 academic year ‘held against’ you (in other words, you can undertake all your 2020/21 academic year remotely if you will also be studying in the academic year 2021/22

Applications for the graduate route open from 1 July 2021

Further information including visa application fees, immigration health surcharge and frequently asked questions can be read on the UK government website: Fact sheet: Graduate Immigration Route - Home Office in the media ( and the UK Council for International Students Association website: UKCISA - international student advice and guidance

This page will be updated as and when we receive additional information from the Home Office.

  • Skilled worker route (formerly Tier 2 Work Permit visa)

    What it is:

    This immigration route is for international graduates who have a job offer and need sponsorship by a licensed employer to do a specific job that meets the minimum levels of skill and salary in the UK.  The Skilled Worker route is new and launched on 1st December 2020 that the old Tier 2 route was replaced, and with new changes, which mostly beneficial and helpful for students who wish to work after studies.

    International Student Support Team can only provide limited visa advice and guidance on this Skilled Worker visa, because the sponsorship is under a licensed employer, therefore we would advise you to check further information with your prospective employer.

    If any questions relate to employability and how to find a job, please engage with University Talent Team support via Talent Connect. Book appointments & events, apply for jobs, access employability, support materials and create your own profile tailored to your individual needs. You can follow Talent Team on social media (@covuniTT) too.

    Who can apply:

    Any international students or graduates (undergraduate, master or PhD) can apply and meet all other eligibility requirements under the Skilled Worker route. Graduates can switch into this visa from Student visa in the UK on or before the Student visa expires, or graduates can apply this visa in the home countries. Students who are eligible to apply New Graduate Route after 1st July 2021 and will be holding the New Graduate Route visa can also apply visa switching into this visa category in the UK.

    When can I apply:

    Students who have completed all exams and academic work and the formal course end date has passed.

    What does your employer must have:

    • Hold a skilled work sponsor license
    • The job and vacancy must be genuine and at the appropriate skills level
    • The job should be listed in the Skilled Occupations and meet the minimum salary. 
    • Allocate a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) to you

    Advice from us: 

    • Please contact the University Talent Team to start looking for jobs.
    • Be prepare your questions regarding your own visa status and better to provide a short paragraph about your immigration history and intention of what plan do you have after your current studies with the University.
    • When looking for jobs, you can check whether the prospective employer is registered as a Skilled Worker sponsor and the offered salary meets the minimum applicable salary. Also whether your job is on the list of Skilled Worker visa: eligible occupations and codes
    • If you plan to switch from Student route or New Graduate route to Skilled Worker visa in the UK, you will be considered as a “new entrant”.
    • You can use this calculator to see if you are eligible for this visa
    • A total of 70 points under Points based immigration system is required to be eligible to apply. The system chart is under FAQ as below section.
    • If you or your family are from the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein, you may be able to apply to the free EU settlement scheme if started living in the UK before 1st January 2021. Otherwise, you need a visa to work in the UK and follow the same point based system.

    Documents for visa application:

    • Valid passport
    • Biometric Resident Permit (BRP card)
    • CoS letter from your employer (including your job title, annual salary, job occupation code, name of your employer, their sponsor licence number)
    • Transcript or Award Certificate from the University
    • Police Registration Certificate (only if you are from a country required to register and it’s up to date)
    • Financial requirements:
    • £1270 no matter inside of London or outer of London. You do not need to provide financial documents if you are a British national overseas. Visit the government website to see all the other nationalities.
    • Applicant is exempted from meeting the financial requirements if you have been living in the UK for 12 months or more with permission at the time of your application.
    • TB test if you apply visa in your home country (outside of UK)
    • A criminal record certificate – if you are working in certain jobs


    FAQ for Skilled Worker route:

    1. What is Points Based System?

    The points based system introduced and started to use from 1st January 2021. It is led by the Home Office and apply for all applicants, both EU and non-EU citizens, who will need to demonstrate that they have a job offer from an approved sponsor, also the job offer is at the required skill level and applicant can speak English, as well as earns more than the minimum salary threshold in order to be qualified to work in the UK. To find out more visit under UK’s points-based system policy statement.

    2. Can I apply after New Graduate Route visa?

    Yes.  New Graduate Route will open at 9am on 1st July 2021, so you can apply for this visa first after you have completed your current studies. While you hold New Graduate Route visa, you can look for jobs and join the job interview and on the job application, you can mention about your current immigration status. Once you have CoS from the prospective employer, you can apply visa switching from New Graduate Route visa to Skilled Worker visa in the UK on or before your current visa expires, or you can apply Skilled Worker visa in your home country if you find the job after your New Graduate Route visa. You might need to check the salary requirement level which relates to location and visa switching.

    3. Can I bring dependants?

    Yes, your partner and children can apply to join you or to stay in the UK if they are eligible. If their application is successful, their visa will end on the same date as yours.

    4. Can I do any additional jobs?

    You can do additional paid work on this visa as long as you are still doing the job you are being sponsored for. You can work unpaid voluntary jobs too.  You can work 20 hours a week in the same job code sector you were sponsored or a job in the shortage occupation list.

    5. Can I study on this visa in the UK?

    Yes, you can study part time under this visa in the UK, and you need a confirmation letter from your employer who can confirm and happy for you to do so.

    6. Can I apply settlement in the UK after this visa?

    Yes, this visa leads to settlement in the UK after five years of continuous lawful residence. In addition, you must still be required for your skilled worker when you apply settlement in the UK.  You may also eligible for long residence rule if you have spent 10 years of continuous lawful residence in the UK with mix of any type of immigration permission. For details, please check on settlement as a Skilled Worker.

    7. Do I need to pay Immigration Health Charge?

    Yes, it is £624 per year

    8. Can I apply this visa at overseas?

    Yes, you can apply this visa either in the UK or from overseas and the visa application is online application.

    9. If I change job or employer during my visa period, what do I need to do? 

    There are different scenarios under this topic, so please check the Skilled Worker Route visa under Update your visa if you change job or employer.

    Useful links:


  • Youth Mobility Scheme visa (T5)

    This scheme is only open to nationals of Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, Japan, Monaco, New Zealand, Republic of Korea, San Marino, Taiwan, British Overseas Citizens, British Overseas Territories Citizens and British Nationals (overseas).

    You must be aged between 18 and 30. You must not have children under 18 living with you or financially dependent on you.

    You must have access to funds of £2,530 in savings – no minimum time period for the available funds.

    You can live and work in the UK for up to 2 years without restriction. You can also be self-employed and set up a company. You cannot get public funds, work as a doctor, a dentist in training or a professional sportsperson. You must apply for this visa from outside of the UK and cannot switch to this scheme inside of the UK. This visa doesn’t have extension.

    Further advice and guidance is provided by the UKCISA. More information on how to apply for this visa is available on the Home Office website. You can also contact International Student Support Team on for further advice.

  • Students’ Union Sabbatical Officers

    What it is:

    International students and recent graduates who have student visa, which allows you to work, can undertake a full time sabbatical officer post. It is important that you or the Student Union or National Union of Students (NUS) inform the University as soon as possible after election so we can support you on your visa application.

    The Sabbatical Officer visa is under Student visa and the University is sponsorship for this visa.

    Who can apply:

    Students who are currently holding a valid student visa and studying with Coventry University Group, including Coventry main campus or Coventry University London campus.

    When can I apply:

    You need to apply Student visa under Sabbatical Officers and you must be granted this permission before you can start your job. If you have finished your studies and you have Student permission, you can start your sabbatical officer post on your current permission but you will need to apply to extend it in order to complete the post.

    How to apply:

    Sabbatical Officer is under Student visa and you need a Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) from the University International Office. Therefore, we advise you to contact International Office on if you have been elected or intend to stand in Union elections.

    You can only be an Sabbatical Officer for a maximum period of two years elected. You should be granted Student permission for a period to cover the duration of the sabbatical officer post, up to 12 months. You should also be granted an extra period of one month before the post starts and up to four months after your sabbatical officer post ends.

    Documents for visa application:

    • Valid passport
    • Biometric Resident Permit (BRP card)
    • CAS number
    • Police Registration Certificate (only if you are from a country required to register and it’s up to date)
    • A job offer or contract from Student Union or National Union of Students (NUS)
    • No financial requirements: you will not have to provide evidence of finance as part of your application in or outside of the UK.

    FAQ for Sabbatical Officers

    1. Am I allowed to study while I am doing Sabbatical Officer?

    The Home Office doesn’t expect any Sabbatical Officers to engage with the studies and it is a full time post of Sabbatical Officer. Coventry University does not assign a CAS on Part time study basis either. Therefore, you will need to discuss your study plan with the International Office and the Student Union, ideally before you stand for election but at the latest before you start work.

    2. Can I have additional jobs?

    Because this visa is under Student Visa, so you are allowed no more than 20 hours per week on part time basis in addition jobs.

    3. Do I need to pay Immigration Health Charge?

    Yes, it’s £470 per year.

    4. What to do when a sabbatical officer post ends?

    This depends on your current study status, whether you have already completed your studies, or you need to undertake any further studies or find a job in the UK or any plans.

    5. Can I bring dependants on this?

    Yes, you can bring dependants

     Useful links:

Useful contact details

For help with your post study work options, you may wish to contact the International Student Support Team.  For employability and career advice, please contact Talent Team.

Student Support Team –

Talent Team –

If you need immigration advice, you must ask the International Student Support Team as this is the only office in the University who are legally allowed to give this advice. Please email if you are main campus or if you are London campus to get further specialist support.

Useful links and resources

UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA) - Information and advice about working after your studies. If you register with UKCISA, you’ll get the latest relevant immigration updates

UK Visas and Immigration - Information on all the different work visas available


The accuracy of the response to your query is dependant on the information you have provided regarding your personal circumstances. The advice offered is based on the best information available at the time of enquiry. However, such information is subject to change, often with very little notice. While care has been taken to ensure that all information is correct, Coventry University International Office does not accept responsibility for errors, omissions or inaccuracies. Coventry University acting through the International Office provides this service as general guidance. It is your responsibility to check for the relevant up to date information.

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